We sat silently, some fifty of us, the whole island, in the ten-by-twenty hut that was the school waiting . . .
Rain quickened against corrugated tin and winds rattled rafters like a kettle on a steady boil . . .
the Tongans seemed so casual about it, the babies quiet with breastfeeding; but then, by mutual assent, they lost it: even the men, the big men who had stooped to enter in the low door started banging on pots and bawling like women (who for their part screeched like gulls).
I nudged Haipai, who was the principal and educated on the big island, but was carrying on like all the rest . . .
Like an actor stepping out of character he admitted with a streak of shame that the old people before the Christians came worshiped Palau the God of the Storm who is a blind man staggering cross the waves and does not intend the harm he causes- the people make noise to warn him to make him go around . . .
A gust cut off any further explanation: it whipsawed the hut almost stripping off the roof- and I could hear the great steps of the Thunderer blindly striding closer . . .
I did not think but snatched up a pot and did my part banging away in pagan abandon muttering to Haipai that it made sense to me, perfect sense.
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